Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Purgatory eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 107 pages of information about Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Purgatory.

Thus we so slowly sped, that with cleft orb
The moon once more o’erhangs her wat’ry couch,
Ere we that strait have threaded.  But when free
We came and open, where the mount above
One solid mass retires, I spent, with toil,
And both, uncertain of the way, we stood,
Upon a plain more lonesome, than the roads
That traverse desert wilds.  From whence the brink
Borders upon vacuity, to foot
Of the steep bank, that rises still, the space
Had measur’d thrice the stature of a man: 
And, distant as mine eye could wing its flight,
To leftward now and now to right dispatch’d,
That cornice equal in extent appear’d.

Not yet our feet had on that summit mov’d,
When I discover’d that the bank around,
Whose proud uprising all ascent denied,
Was marble white, and so exactly wrought
With quaintest sculpture, that not there alone
Had Polycletus, but e’en nature’s self
Been sham’d.  The angel who came down to earth
With tidings of the peace so many years
Wept for in vain, that op’d the heavenly gates
From their long interdict, before us seem’d,
In a sweet act, so sculptur’d to the life,
He look’d no silent image.  One had sworn
He had said, “Hail!” for she was imag’d there,
By whom the key did open to God’s love,
And in her act as sensibly impress
That word, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord,”
As figure seal’d on wax.  “Fix not thy mind
On one place only,” said the guide belov’d,
Who had me near him on that part where lies
The heart of man.  My sight forthwith I turn’d
And mark’d, behind the virgin mother’s form,
Upon that side, where he, that mov’d me, stood,
Another story graven on the rock.

I passed athwart the bard, and drew me near,
That it might stand more aptly for my view. 
There in the self-same marble were engrav’d
The cart and kine, drawing the sacred ark,
That from unbidden office awes mankind. 
Before it came much people; and the whole
Parted in seven quires.  One sense cried, “Nay,”
Another, “Yes, they sing.”  Like doubt arose
Betwixt the eye and smell, from the curl’d fume
Of incense breathing up the well-wrought toil. 
Preceding the blest vessel, onward came
With light dance leaping, girt in humble guise,
Sweet Israel’s harper:  in that hap he seem’d
Less and yet more than kingly.  Opposite,
At a great palace, from the lattice forth
Look’d Michol, like a lady full of scorn
And sorrow.  To behold the tablet next,
Which at the hack of Michol whitely shone,
I mov’d me.  There was storied on the rock
The’ exalted glory of the Roman prince,
Whose mighty worth mov’d Gregory to earn
His mighty conquest, Trajan th’ Emperor. 
A widow at his bridle stood, attir’d
In tears and mourning.  Round about them troop’d
Full throng of knights, and overhead in gold
The eagles floated, struggling with the wind.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Purgatory from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.